Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Republished from Penn State Today News, written by Victoria M. Indivero

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The 2018–19 Institutes of Energy and the Environment (IEE) seed grant recipients have been awarded to 18 groups of interdisciplinary researchers at Penn State.

IEE established a Seed Grant Program in 2013 to foster basic and applied research addressing IEE’s research themes. Over the previous rounds, IEE has awarded over $2.7 million to 104 interdisciplinary projects with investigators from at least 15 Penn State colleges and campuses.

This year, seed grants were awarded to proposals focusing on three of IEE’s five strategic research themes — Climate and Ecosystem Change, Future Energy Supply, and Human Health and the Environment — as well as three strategic crosscutting topics -- Food-Energy-Water Systems, High-Performance Building Systems, and Energy and Environmental Resilience.

The 2019 projects — along with their principal investigators, co-investigators and external partners—that were awarded seed grants are:

Climate and Ecosystem Change

  • “Herbarium Specimens as Microbial Time Capsules in the Face of Global Change” — Jesse Lasky, Eberly College of Science; Kathryn Turner, Eberly College of Science; Laura Weyrich, College of Liberal Arts; George Perry, College of Liberal Arts; and Carolee Bull, College of Agricultural Sciences

Future Energy Supply

  • “Increasing Power Densities and Cycle Efficiencies of Novel, Thermally-Charged Flow Batteries Using Advanced Flow Cell Topologies” — Matthew Rau, College of Engineering; Serguei Lvov, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences; Derek Hall, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences; and Bruce Logan, College of Engineering

Human Health and the Environment

  • “Addressing Potential Health Effects due to Drinking Water Quality among Humans and Animals in Plain-Sect Community Using Community-Based Approaches” — Anil Kumar Chaudhary, College of Agricultural Sciences; Kristin Sznajder, College of Medicine; Adrian Barragan, College of Agricultural Sciences; Cibin Raj; College of Agricultural Sciences; and Walt Whitmer, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • “Modeling the Risk of West Nile Virus to Ruffed Grouse Populations in Pennsylvania” — Erika Machtinger, College of Agricultural Sciences; Lisa Williams, Bureau of Wildlife Management, Pennsylvania Game Commission; Justin Brown, Bureau of Wildlife Management, Pennsylvania Game Commission; W. David Walter, College of Agricultural Sciences, US Geological Survey Cooperative Unit; Dave Miller, College of Agricultural Sciences; Emily Thomas, College of Agricultural Sciences; Carolyn Mahan, Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Penn State Altoona; Andrew Kyle, West Nile Virus Control Program, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; Keith Price, Microbiology, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; and Michael Hutchinson, Entomology, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
  • “The Role of Olfactory Neuron Death in Particulate Matter-Induced Neurodegeneration” — Patrick Drew, College of Engineering, and Randy Vander Wal, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences

Energy and Environmental Resilience

  • “Identifying Sweet Spots for Green Stormwater Infrastructure Interventions in Pennsylvania Urban Communities” — Lauren McPhillips, College of Engineering; Daniel Brent, College of Agricultural Sciences; Anil Kumar Chaudhary, College of Agricultural Sciences; Shirley Clark, School of Science, Engineering, and Technology, Penn State Harrisburg; Jonathan Duncan, College of Agricultural Sciences; Cibin Raj, College of Agricultural Sciences; Matthew Royer, College of Agricultural Sciences; and Hong Wu, College of Arts and Architecture
  • “The Impact of Ecosystem Change and Resilience on Crop Quality and Farmer Livelihoods – Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum) as a Model”— Joshua Lambert, College of Agricultural Sciences; Helene Hopfer, College of Agricultural Sciences; Sarah Nilson, Department of Biology, Penn State Beaver; Patrick Drohan, College of Agricultural Sciences; Bronwen Powell, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences; and Caitlin Grady, College of Engineering
  • “Lighting Up the Subsurface for Tomorrow’s City: Initiating a Penn State DAS Array for Monitoring Geo/Environmental Hazards” —Tieyuan Zhu, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences; Patrick Fox, College of Engineering; Andrew Nyblade, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences; and Eileen Martin, College of Science, Virginia Tech

Food-Energy-Water Systems

  • “Characterizing Food-Energy-Water Systems in Ethiopia” — Brian Thiede, College of Agricultural Sciences; Rachel Brennan, College of Engineering; and Michael Jacobson, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • “Identification of Links between Surface Water Microbiomes and Microbiological Water Safety” — Jasna Kovac, College of Agricultural Sciences; Rachel Brennan, College of Engineering; and Luke Laborde, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • “Rare Earth Element Enrichment from Mining Wastewater Streams” — Xueyi Zhang, College of Engineering; Mohammad Rezaee, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences; and Michael Hickner, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
  • “Visualizing and Experiencing Changes to the Critical Zone” — Janet Swim, College of Liberal Arts; Alexander Klippel, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences; Jessica Myrick, Bellisario College of Communications; and Timothy White, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences

High-Performance Building Systems

  • “Developing Integrated Low-Cost Sensors for Improving Building Environmental Performance” — Donghyun Rim, College of Engineering; James Freihaut, College of Engineering; and Dongwon Lee, College of Information Sciences and Technology
  • “Practical Photovoltaic Daylighting” — Chris Giebink, College of Engineering; Christopher Rahn, College of Engineering; Ute Poerschke, College of Arts and Architecture; and Kevin Houser, College of Engineering
  • “Quantifying Enhanced Performance of Passive House over Conventional Buildings” — Lisa Iulo, College of Arts and Architecture; Donghyun Rim, College of Engineering; Corey Griffin, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, Penn State Altoona; William Bahnfleth, College of Engineering; James Freihaut, College of Engineering; and Ute Poerschke, College of Arts and Architecture
  • “Resilient and Energy Efficient Envelopes for Passive House Standard Buildings” — Corey Griffin, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, Penn State Altoona; Ali Memari, College of Engineering; and Lisa Iulo, College of Arts and Architecture
  • “Searchable Performance Database for Design of Ultra High Performance Envelope Buildings in Varied Climatic Conditions” — Aly Said, College of Engineering; John Yen, College of Information Sciences and Technology; Somayeh Asadi, College of Engineering; and James Freihaut, College of Engineering
  • “Uncertainty-Aware Transactive Building Controls” — Gregory Pavlak, College of Engineering; Uday Shanbhag, College of Engineering; and Mort Webster, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences

The Institutes of Energy and the Environment is one of seven interdisciplinary research institutes at Penn State. IEE works to build teams of experts from different disciplines to see how new partnerships and new ways of thinking can solve some of the world’s most difficult energy and environmental challenges while simultaneously protecting and developing a healthy planet, people and economy.

For more information about the seed grant program or the Institutes of Energy and the Environment, visit iee.psu.edu or email iee@psu.edu.